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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

    
Gender Specific Content
Is there a difference and if so, What?
paynt




msg:926582
 10:43 pm on May 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I really shouldnít be spending my time on this today, really I shouldnít. I just canít help myself. That being said Iíll distract myself with a new topic.

Today I was researching discussions here at Webmaster World, on color. A client was interested in color psychology. Interesting topic and in case youíre interested it appears this has been discussed quite a bit here at Webmaster World. Well, research freaky nut that I am, who I might add never seems to stop, in the process I found a really cool thread I thought quite interesting.

more women online [webmasterworld.com]

rcjordan started the discussion on Aug. 9, 2000. Ok, so itís been a bit since weíve talked about it. My interest in this boils down to developing content for a site based on whether your target audience is male or female. Does it make a difference? What if itís not a gender specific (whatever that means) issue? If youíre drawing in a bunch of men and you want to draw in more women or visa versa Ė what do you do? How do you approach gender specific marketing issues as it relates to content?

A good example are all this dating and singles sites. What happens when you have more females then males or again the visa versa thing? Looking at color it appears from research that each gender has itís own directional appeal. I like content so what do you think?

 

brotherhood of LAN




msg:926583
 11:01 pm on May 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

well paynt,

to start off at the shallow end im sure a site targetting children that is designed in pink would tend to get more young female subscribers

Regardless of whether there are more men or women online, my site gets a 50/50 split based on feedback (though no idea about the true margin of error)

Im gonna look into it too and come back tomorrow :) its an area that is very broad....I mean, granted, men may prefer certain colours and so forth, but perhaps gay men would also find the female colours more appealing? Or perhaps the Y chromosome of men puts pay to that ;)

I have a bit on my site about perception.....after looking into it I'll no doubt want to add more content about it...good subject to talk about, hope we get some great replies for me to write about :)

digitalghost




msg:926584
 11:20 pm on May 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just to be prescriptivist, men and women do not have gender. :) Only words have gender.

Some dictionaries add the sex classification but only as a colloquialism or euphemism.

Google has failed me, I had a link to men/women color preferences done by some folks at Berkeley. The end result of the study stated pretty clearly that topic or theme should dictate color, not the sex of the viewer.

So, a site about crochet, (typically a female interest) may have pinks or pastels, but a site about golfing could be done incorporating green and white. Even a site about women golfers would be better served to use colors expected by golfers rather than colors targeted at "women."

Trust value of colors was examined, but found to be diverse along cultural lines. I'm off to search for that link, maybe I can find it with AV. yaright. :)

DG

mivox




msg:926585
 11:37 pm on May 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, speaking from my own preferences, sites that are obviously "targeting" female visitors tend to send me running the other way. I'd definitely go with the "let your topic be your guide" school of color/design.

paynt




msg:926586
 11:45 pm on May 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I know I brought up color because that's what led me here ~ but what about content. Meaning information and text and the way it's presented. Any differences?

mivox




msg:926587
 11:56 pm on May 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hehehe... back to the shallow end of the pool! I'd bet pregnancy/motherhood support group sites get more female visitors. ;) (Geez, is it Friday? I'm getting downright goofy this afternoon)

Really, there are the totally stereotypical male vs. female topics, and very few stereotypes come about for *no* reason. Monster trucks? Probably primarily men. Cooking? Probably primarily women. But once you wander into less easily lumped fare, I think you'd be hard pressed to draw a firm line anywhere...

I'm not much help for starting a debate today am I? Where is rc, our resident marketing guru?

rcjordan




msg:926588
 12:58 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

>guru
>
That word will get you in trouble around here, mivox.

>content
>
I swear, just this afternoon I had another prospective freelance travel writer (female, they've all been female lately) contact me and ask for my site's freelancer guidelines. As it happens, I had some online (7 years of doing this leads to a certain amount of serendipity-on-demand).

Using Marcia's term, here's the 'writer's voice' section:

The Likely Audience:


  • female (60/40 female vs male users)
  • works full-time
  • is family decision-maker or "recommender"
  • 35-55 yrs old
  • some college education
  • middle-class income
  • probably caucasian
  • has children in grammar school and high school
  • has a dog
  • likes outdoor stuff, but not too extreme
  • lives in western or central NC. Or, if out-of-state; VA, Pennsylvania, or Ohio
  • loves the water, even if its just looking at it

She is researching a family vacation or the location of a likely job transfer. The writers she likes are those that tell her about the area without all the usual tourism or real estate company hype. However, she's not really expecting any negative information, she knows the sites are likely to be circumventing that. As a recommender, she really wants upbeat info anyway. Whether vacationing or relocating, she's trying to get the real flavor of the area so she can convince someone else that it's worth a visit.

Off the top of my head, the only other thing I can recall about purposely positioning content re gender is I have another writer that travels with her husband and refers to him in her narratives, as in "my husband and I stopped in the antique shop." At first, I was going to edit it out because it establishes a gender perspective, but eventually opted to keep it because I decided that it would play to my target audience better.

grnidone




msg:926589
 1:15 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

On another but similiar note, I have a client that does electronics. What we have found in usability studies is women typically want to know how the item will make their lives easier, and men typically want to know all the technical specs/ gadgety type stuff about the item.

I was not a believer in that until I read a particular thread here at WmW. (I'm not kidding..)

It was a discussion about lawnmowers. Brett Tabke was talking about how his lawnmower cr*pped out and he had to get a new one.

There was a distinct difference in how the genders replied to the post.

The men dominated the conversation: usually about lawmower engine specifications, blade widths and curvatures, and which mowers are better, and why. Brett Tabke and Oilman (men) went back and forth about specs for what seemed like forever.

And then, I distinctly remember Mivox (woman) posted in that thread and said something like "Yeah, my boyfriend bought a lawnmower at a yard sale for $30 and we use it to keep the mosquitos down."

Men like specs. Women like to know how an item will make their lives easier.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:926590
 1:27 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>"my husband and I stopped in the antique shop." At first, I was going to edit it out because it establishes a gender perspective, but eventually opted to keep it because I decided that it would play to my target audience better.

Could you explain your reasoning there a teeny more plz? :)

//as to why you would choose to edit it in any way

rcjordan




msg:926591
 2:02 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

>why you would choose to edit it in any way

With one significant exception, my other pages are are written about the town or attraction with no reference to the writer's identity or gender. The thought being that the reader will project their preferences into a neutral setting, or at least not be put off by it. IMO, a man looking for fishing information may find "my husband" to be a content stop-word of sorts. Like it or not, he's going to pick up cues from it.

I could have easily requested that "we" be used instead of "my husband & I" (though that's still writing to a couple) or I might have distilled it further to a generic description. In this case, even though I personally do not prefer this style for my own travel research, I'm betting with the odds (60% female) and purposely skewing the content to meet their preferences.

(edited by: rcjordan at 3:01 am (utc) on May 14, 2002)

brotherhood of LAN




msg:926592
 2:14 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

I like that reason, in fact, im sure your way of thinking (correct IMO) is exactly like an experience of mine.

Perhaps, if we were to look deeper at the variances in writing style between male and female in a subjective format, it would be worth looking at particular newspaper columns, the gender of the writer, and their style of writing.

Would this be applicable and has anyone looked into it ? :)

mivox




msg:926593
 3:38 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

lawmower engine specifications, blade widths and curvatures, and which mowers are better, and why. Brett Tabke and Oilman (men) went back and forth about specs for what seemed like forever.
And then, I distinctly remember Mivox (woman) posted in that thread and said something like "Yeah, my boyfriend bought a lawnmower at a yard sale for $30 and we use it to keep the mosquitos down."

Hehe... Mivox pipes up with the woman's perspective. LOL. Witness the recent hubub about lawman's new gas grill (also over in FOO). And here's Mivox: "Yeah, we just pile up some cinderblocks and bricks in a circle in the back yard and burn wood in it... The food tastes good."

The mystery deepens: am I offering a typical female perspective, or a typical cheapskate perspective?

brotherhood of LAN




msg:926594
 3:51 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

mivox, you are offering YOUR perspective :) Ocham's Razor (ciml taught me the spelling) would suggest that you have a better answer.

After all, if you spend 24 hours deciding on a lawnmower, couldnt you have just worked that 24 hours and bought the more expensive one without a second thought ? :)

RE what I was saying about female/male journalists

A paper over here called the Daily Record, perhaps better known to some of us as the Glasgow record, has a few "diehard" men writing some columns and a "bra burning" female called Joan Burnie.

Apart from it offering the usual tabloid rubbish and illustrating old cliches, you can find yourself labelling the journalist because of their beliefs. (Why judge them? well, when they spurt out their nonsense to half the population, you gotta take them into account)

Anyways, I end up labelling them, and looking at some of the feedback section, many others do the same :) The only reason for this happening is because they have to stick their necks out and try to get a rise from some segment of society (sometimes male/female)

At the end of the day, if you dont offer any opinionated information, then no one can knock it :) Just look at that politics thread (not that anyone said anything out of place).....but when it came to people and their perceptions of the world (and other people).....you get labelled with your opinion

OT, sorry, its late :)

mivox




msg:926595
 3:54 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Men like specs. Women like to know how an item will make their lives easier.
Hmm... at my employer's website the product descriptions usually concentrate on benefits with a short description of specs, and there's a link to the PDF manufacturer's specifications & owners manual (if we have one handy to scan in). Does that mean we're playing hard to get for the men? Do men like that sort of thing?

My personal interest in specifications is directly related to two considerations: 1. How much money am I spending on this product? 2. How important are the specs in a practical sense? If it's expensive, I'll research it just to make sure I'm making good use of my cash. If it's something like an engine part, I'll definitely make sure I get the right one. Otherwise, it's all flexible. I don't care if the vacation writer has a husband, a wife or both.

IanTurner




msg:926596
 8:10 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

mivox, I like technical specs on my sites they tend to be full of long obscure keywords.

ciml




msg:926597
 10:01 am on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

I remember Jakob Nielsen mentioning that women are nn% more likely to click on banner ad's. It was quite some time ago, and may have been due only to the ladies mostly being new surfers at that time.

In his "Website[sic] Usability for Children" Alertbox this April, he found boys and girls more different from each other than men and women. Basically, boys don't like long pages and girls like good instructions. Apparently younger boys are not as good at reading and girls don't use technology as much at an early age (this makes sense).

mivox:
> I don't care if the vacation writer has a husband, a wife or both.

That, if I may say, is a typical utilitarian female response.;)

TallTroll




msg:926598
 5:34 pm on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

I seem to remember participating in a related thread on this...

Gotcha, [webmasterworld.com...]

For those who want it, the abridged version is rcjordan wanted a reco as to whether to go with a formal or informal (first- or third-person) style with the new copy on his site, as mentioned in his above post

The thread is relevant here, because it raises a very gender-specific point. How do you write the words? Men tend to respond to a formal, technical style, all bullet points and jargon, whereas women respond to the more personal, 1st person expositional style.

I think that is more important than the colour scheme, because colours reinforce perceptions in most cases, rather than forming them.

If you have a male oriented site, selling air ionisers say, don't tell me about how it will make the air in my office free from dust motes. Tell me it will pump a stream of negatively charged ions into the room, from an active tip running a 5,000 volt charge at 3 milliamps.

That, I like. Makes me feel I'm getting something for my money, y'know

OOoooh, 5,000 volts? Must be good then...

Tell a woman it will help her hayfever. Real men prefer to suffer (thats actually true, its helps us pull sickies if we are seen to be coughing and spluttering, but still manfully struggling on)

mivox




msg:926599
 5:44 pm on May 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you have a male oriented site, selling air ionisers say, don't tell me about how it will make the air in my office free from dust motes.

Don't tell you about the dust motes? What if I can tell you about the dust mote levels in a Class 1 clean room, which you will be able to enjoy with this incredible ionizer?

(Semiconductor chips are manufactured in a Class 1 clean room, tested in a Class 1,000 clean room... a hospital operating room is approximately a Class 10,000. Filthy, really. Hold on while I look up the ppm specs for dust motes at each clean room classification... LOL)

Would that sort of specification make you more interested in the dust motes? (Even though it would be utterly impossible to keep a regular home anywhere near even the Class 1,000 level?)

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